Unseen Academicals **Spoilers**

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Postby Batty » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:04 am

poohcarrot wrote:This started out with me making an observation about chapters, putting forward a possible reason for them, then getting shot down in flames by everyone, because there is no possible way I could be right. :D

By everyone? Crikey! Are you sure? Image
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:06 am

Even your smileys are shooting me down in flames! :lol:
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Postby Batty » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:48 am

It's cold. I was trying to warm you up!
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:23 pm

*typing with tongue trying to decide whether to be in my cheek or poking out with effort of thinking...* :roll:

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Arguing the inarguable for the hell of it (e.g. chapters, men on the moon etc etc :P )

to be continued... :wink:
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Postby B.B.Shrooms » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:59 am

I have been a huge Discworld fan for ages and have read all of the books several times. That being said I have to say I am a tad bit disappointed by Unseen Academicals.

First of all I don't like all the sudden changes this book brings (the Bursar gone, the Dean suddenly Archancellor of one of several new magical Universities,...). Next I think the changes to the characters of Vetinari, Ponder, Ridcully and Vimes aren't entirely befitting either. Vimes for example only has a couple of lines at the end of the book, but those really don't sound like the Vimes of old at all IMO.

As for the story itself I found it somewhat lacking as well. To me the book lacks both the tremendous humor of the earlier Discworld books and the captivating storyline that supplanted the humor in novels like 'Nightwatch'. The football references are fun and the book is a nice read, but it just isn't anything special like so many other Discworld books are. The characters for the most part remain somewhat shallow IMO and I really have a hard time to really connect with any of them.

If I would rank this book it would be somewhere between Making Money and Monstrous Regiment, but definitely not near the top of the Discworld novels as has been suggested in some of the reviews that I have seen so far.

Comments?
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Postby Dotsie » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:12 am

I don't think changes to characters are necessarily a bad thing, otherwise they become stagnant. Wouldn't you expect changes in a person over 25 years? As for Vimes, in every book he's in that's not a watch book he's a bit of a tool. Angua is even worse. I think that's Terry's way of pointing out that even though we're glad we have the police, whenever you have to deal with them on a superficial basis it makes you want to scream at their bloody-mindedness.

I loved the humour, it made me laugh out loud. I thought Nutt was delightful. One of the best? Probably not. But then I don't think anything ever comes close to Nightwatch, he set the bar too high for himself there.

And welcome to the site :D
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Postby B.B.Shrooms » Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:21 am

Dotsie wrote:I don't think changes to characters are necessarily a bad thing, otherwise they become stagnant. Wouldn't you expect changes in a person over 25 years? As for Vimes, in every book he's in that's not a watch book he's a bit of a tool. Angua is even worse. I think that's Terry's way of pointing out that even though we're glad we have the police, whenever you have to deal with them on a superficial basis it makes you want to scream at their bloody-mindedness.


You do have a point there. I too definitely always loved the way Terry let his characters and in fact the whole society of Discworld evolve over time. However somehow the changes in Unseen Academicals are too abrupt for me. Almost as if there was a book missing between Making Money and this one. I mean the stories about what happened to the Bursar and the Dean alone could easily fill a book.

Dotsie wrote:I loved the humour, it made me laugh out loud. I thought Nutt was delightful. One of the best? Probably not. But then I don't think anything ever comes close to Nightwatch, he set the bar too high for himself there.


Definitely agree there. Nightwatch clearly is a master piece and I agree that most likely nothing will ever come close to it.

Dotsie wrote:And welcome to the site :D


Thank you!
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Postby poohcarrot » Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:35 pm

Making Money and Monstrous regiment are my two least favourite books. I personally don't think Nightwatch is the best, and it doesn't appear in my top five.

After the disappointment of Making Money (and to some degree Wintersmith) I was highly satisfied with Unseen Academicals. I would rate it in the top half of all Discworld books.

Vetinari was wonderful and Professor Hicks I absolutely adored. I am more than happy to swap Hicks for the Bursar (a one joke running gag) AND Dean (a two joke running gag). Nutt was brilliant and I liked the way some of the characters talked in modern 2009 patois.

I used to hate Maurice, but on fourth reading, I fell in love with it.

UA is a very funny book and I believe on your second or third reading of it, you will appreciate it even more.

Incidently, in what ways have the characters of Vetinari, Ponder and Ridcully changed so much, because I didn't notice that much of a change?

PS Welcome :D
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Postby chris.ph » Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:37 pm

well ive finally finished it and thought there was a little posh and becks in trev and juliet :) discuss
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Postby B.B.Shrooms » Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:49 pm

poohcarrot wrote:Incidently, in what ways have the characters of Vetinari, Ponder and Ridcully changed so much, because I didn't notice that much of a change?


Thanks for the welcome.

As far as the character changes:

Vetinari has IMO changed from the mysterious Machiavellian ruler into just another guy in this book. What with all the small talk and stuff like that. He was just so much more mundane in this book. Of course part of this may be because he gets quite a bit more exposure in this one than in the usual discworld novel, but I for one think his character has lost something as a result.

Ridcully IMO has changed from the active do it all, if at times somewhat thick headed, archcancellor into.....well...just another UU wizard really. Complete with the bickering and little sense.

Ponder on the other hand almost seems to have become something of a Ridcully II and has left all traces of his shy former self and suddenly in effect rules UU.

Of course in a way all of these are character developments that in a way can be explained (especially in the case of Ponder who got stronger and stronger as the series progressed). However what irks me is just how sudden all of these changes come. I mean all Discworld characters evolve but IMO the changes here are a bit abrupt. As I said it seems to me almost as if there is a book missing which deals with all the changes at UU.
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:52 pm

chris.ph wrote:well ive finally finished it and thought there was a little posh and becks in trev and juliet :) discuss
Yes, but there was a lot more Romeo and Juliet about it. :wink:

I actually found it took a long time to get going. Usually Terry's books grab me straight away, but I didn't find that at all with this one. I usually have to make myself slow down when reading a new Pratchett, but with this one it took me relatively ages to read.

There were some excellent bits in there though - real classic Pratchett. I read the proof copy and there were a LOT of mistakes and that didn't help with my reading enjoyment. I'm now reading a first edition and so far those mistakes seem to have been cleared up. :wink:
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:40 pm

Welcome to the site B.B.Shrooms :D

I agree with Tony that it took some time to get going. But I still loved it :D

And I don't feel that Ponder and Ridcully changed that much :wink:
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Postby Dotsie » Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:18 am

poohcarrot wrote:I liked the way some of the characters talked in modern 2009 patois.


Yeah that was well good. But could everyone who's first language isn't english understand what "arp arsed one" was? Made me laugh though :)
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Postby poohcarrot » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:53 pm

For those non-Brits and Brits who are not footy fans, here is an explanation of why UA finishes with, "You think it's all over.....It is now!"

In the 1966 World Cup final, England were beating Germany 3-2 with 30 seconds to go. People thought the ref had ended the game, but he hadn't. Some fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate. Just as the fans ran on the pitch, Geoff Hurst got the ball. The commentator (Kenneth Wolsenholme) said the following immortal words, "Some people are on the pitch, they think it's all over. (Geoff Hurst then slams the ball into the roof of the net thus making 100% sure England are World Champions) It is now!"

Possibly the most famous piece of sports commentary in the UK.

Here are those 45 seconds of pure sports commentary genius;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wyLvagyApY
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:34 pm

That´s brilliant :lol: Thanks Pooh didn´t know that :D
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